How LED Luminaires Provide a Reliable Lighting Solution for Crane Applications


4 April 2016

Lighting for an offshore or marine boom crane is a particularly demanding application. The environment presents two main challenges that make traditional lighting technologies unsuitable; harsh conditions including exposure to high vibration, and given that the fitting will be installed on the boom tip, mounting positions that are extremely difficult to access. A purpose designed LED crane luminaire can overcome both these issues and deliver an improved quality of light for crane operators.


Lighting used on most crane applications tends to be standard floodlighting, typically metal-halide (HID) or high pressure sodium (HPS), which has not been designed with the specific requirements of the application in mind.  Both technologies are sensitive to vibration which shortens product life and increases problems with maintenance and access of crane fitted luminaires. To achieve reliable, high quality illumination on a crane boom, it is essential to choose a lighting solution that has been designed specifically for crane applications.

The SPARTAN Crane luminaire uses largely the same design components as the SPARTAN Flood, meaning it can reap the same benefits of the field-proven floodlight such as low maintenance, high durability and an in-built resistance to vibration. However, with the addition of a custom designed bracket featuring a stainless steel rotary damper, SPARTAN is converted to a bespoke crane luminaire, ideally suited to the demands of crane mounted applications. The rotary damper moves with the crane boom to ensure it always illuminates the area directly below the crane tip and prevents the luminaire from ‘swinging’ under movement, which could create a strobing effect which is detrimental to the operator.

Now that we understand the importance of a custom designed crane luminaire, let’s look at the features of an LED crane in comparison to traditional technology.


A noticeable difference between traditional crane lighting and an LED Crane luminaire is the colour temperature of the light. Typically HID and HPS floodlights will provide a ‘warmer white’ compared to an LED fitting which tends to use a higher ‘daylight’ temperature, delivering an easier working environment for the human eye. In addition, because traditional fittings are prone to more frequent failures and performance degradation (we will look at this in more detail later in the article) than LED luminaires, a site illuminated with traditional bulb technology can be left with areas of darkness or with insufficient light levels for periods of time. This has a significant impact from a health and safety perspective and increases the level of risk on-site, worsened under emergency conditions.

Considering the distribution of light between the two types of technology is also important. The height of the crane boom means that the highly diffused light produced by HID and HPS lamps often washes out and provides inadequate light levels on the load and load target. In comparison, LED technology used on the Crane luminaires offer a great deal of versatility to improve operational light, while limiting wasted light to the surrounding environment.

The distribution of light from an LED Crane luminaire can be far more tightly focused than that of light from a traditional fitting. With LED Crane lighting, the light can be precisely directed where it is needed; on the load and on the workstation or facility. By achieving a higher quality distribution of light the crane operator can have improved visibility, they will be less likely to get blinded by the light when looking at the load, and it will result in an overall improvement of safety on site.

The SPARTAN Crane luminaire uses a narrow beam pattern as standard, generating enough light on the load and load target regardless of the elevation of the crane boom. Other beam patterns are available if required: the circular beam patterns maximise light output; while the elliptical beam patterns use Raytec’s revolutionary VARIO holographic lens technology to shape the light, providing greater illumination distances with significantly reduced energy wastage, and with very little scattering or loss of light to the surrounding environment. The VARIO holographic beam patterns can easily be modified for any angle – offering ultimate flexibility to specifiers, distributors and end-users.


Floodlights for crane applications need to be very robust as the cranes are in frequent use, lifting and moving.  As a result, luminaires fitted to the cranes are exposed to high levels of vibration that will dramatically reduce the life of traditional lamps and their ballasts. While all LEDs are naturally resistant to vibration, the SPARTAN Crane luminaire uses high performance surface mount LEDs that are encapsulated in a silicone rubber compound. All power electronics in SPARTAN are also encapsulated. The result is an outstanding resistance to vibration for the most demanding applications.


Due to the effects of the working environment and vibration, traditional crane lighting will require frequent maintenance and relamping with each fitting going through a number of replacements over the course of its operational life.

In comparison, the long life of LEDs without the need for upkeep means significant maintenance savings over the course of the product life, especially important for crane lighting applications. The fact that the luminaire will be installed on the boom tip means that any maintenance becomes very difficult. The SPARTAN Crane luminaire provides a solution to this by using the latest Platinum Elite SMT LEDs and providing an operational life of over 100,000 hours. In the event that maintenance is required, SPARTAN’s unique modular design makes maintenance far easier and means it can also be carried out on-site. The Crane luminaire also uses the same core power supply components as SPARTAN Flood which allows one stockpile of spare parts to be kept on-site to service multiple variants of different SPARTAN luminaires.


With lighting for offshore cranes often exposed to some of the harshest conditions possible; extreme temperatures, consistent exposure to vibration, risk of corrosion due to the marine environment, and the fact that the electrical supply on a crane is prone to fluctuating which causes electrical stress and early failures. The SPARTAN Crane luminaire is designed with these conditions specifically in mind.

As well as the resistance to vibration which we’ve already discussed, SPARTAN offers an operating temperature suitable for up to +55°, and is designed with marine grade aluminium body which can withstand even the most challenging conditions and makes SPARTAN far more robust than the majority of alternatives on the market. CoolExtrude™ thermal management technology also ensures a much cooler LED operating temperature, and as a result provides up to 60% better heat dissipation compared to traditional lighting solutions, allowing the product to operate for 10+ years in the most challenging environments. These design features dramatically reduces the risk of damage during transportation, installation, and operation, even in an environment as demanding as an offshore crane.

If you have an application with an existing installation of fluorescent luminaires, contact to find out more about the benefits of upgrading to LED with the SPARTAN Crane Luminaire.

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